A Look Back at 2017 Food Recalls

For the third consecutive year, Food Safety Magazine has sorted through all of last year’s food recalls to provide an overview of how the food industry is doing. This year, we tallied recalls announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. In our 2017 analysis, we did not include recalls announced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  A total of 456 food recalls in the U.S. were recorded for 2017. The numbers can get confusing for a myriad of reasons. Let’s look at a couple of examples.


Let’s say there is a recall of cereal due to foreign material contamination. The cereal came from Manufacturer A and was sent to Retailer A in California. This counts as one single recall. However, later on that recall was expanded to include contaminated cereal that was also sent to Retailer B in Florida. This constitutes a second recall, even though it is for the same product.


Another confusing aspect of these recalls is when one product is recalled for multiple violations. For example, a single product can be recalled for an undeclared allergen and, say, Salmonella contamination. Both of these violations would be tallied as individual recalls.

So, how did food recalls fare in 2017?


Undeclared Allergens

Nothing has changed. Undeclared allergens still dominate when it comes to food products needing to be pulled from store shelves. Last year, 218 food products posed health risks to unknowing consumers because allergenic ingredients were not properly displayed on product labels. The most prominent undeclared food allergens in 2017 were:



Source: Food Safety Magazine